ACA repeal would have big impact on recovering addicts

Lawrence Martinez says driving triggers him back to the dark days of dependency. “Monday was my first day driving the car,” the Albuquerque father of four said last week, talking about the car he and his wife recently bought, as he sat in a conference room at Albuquerque’s Turning Point Recovery Center. “That was an issue on its own, but it’s working out now. Leaving the house, I get anxiety. Once I get on the road, it’s perfect.”

Martinez has been recovering from a methamphetamine addiction since last July.

Heinrich votes against prescription drug imports

Martin Heinrich was one of 13 Democratic U.S. senators who voted against legislation earlier this week that would have allowed Americans to buy prescription drugs from other countries. The measure, a health care reform idea often supported by progressives, came as an amendment to legislation aimed at changing Senate rules to allow majority votes on budget bills. The procedural changes, which the Senate narrowly approved in the early hours of Thursday, are the first step in Republican plans to repeal as much of the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, as they can. Bernie Sanders, the Vermont independent senator who unsuccessfully ran for the Democratic Party presidential nomination last year, sponsored the amendment with Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minnesota. Senators rejected the amendment on a 52-48 margin, with 12 Republicans casting their votes in favor.

In Albuquerque, Trump promises he will win New Mexico

Donald Trump has lagged in support behind Hillary Clinton in New Mexico in all public polls this election season. But the boisterous Republican presidential nominee promised a crowd of roughly 2,500 people he would win the state. The crowd gathered Sunday to hear Trump speak in an airplane hanger just outside of the Albuquerque International Sunport. Related: Small protests greet Trump

“We’re tied—that’s not so good—we’re tied in New Mexico,” Trump told the crowd, echoing a statement last week from one of his campaign advisors on WABC, a New York radio station. “We’re going to win New Mexico.

Today’s the last day to register to vote in primary

Though this year’s general election is still six months away, several elections across the state will only be decided in primaries, which will be held June 7. For people not already registered to vote, today is the last day to do so, which they can do in person at their county clerk’s office or the Secretary of State’s Office. Absentee voting also begins today, as does voting in person at county clerks’ offices throughout the state. Because New Mexico is a closed primary state, today is the last day for the 19 percent of registered declined-to-state voters to update their registration to either Democrat or Republican if they want to vote in next month’s primaries. Anybody who changes their registration to Democrat or Republican online by 5pm today will be eligible to vote June 7.

Organizing to improve ‘abysmal’ turnout in changing Roswell

ROSWELL — In southeast New Mexico, advocacy groups like Somos Un Pueblo Unido are making efforts to get the Latino vote out. Recently, we reported on Somos’ efforts to help permanent immigrant residents apply for U.S. citizenship and vote in next year’s elections. Getting new people to register to vote marks one big step, but it doesn’t guarantee they’ll actually cast a ballot. Those who say they want to make Roswell’s conservative politics more reflective of its growing Latino population stress that the ballot box is essential. Both Chaves County, which includes Roswell, and nearby Lea County are now majority Latino.

Secretary of State Dianna Duran

Who will replace Dianna Duran if she leaves office?

With calls for Secretary of State Dianna Duran to resign growing by the day, the talk is already starting to shift to who will next fill one of the most important elected statewide offices. Duran is facing 64 counts of criminal charges filed last week by Attorney General Hector Balderas for using campaign money for personal use. On Wednesday night, Speaker of the House Don Tripp, R-Socorro, said the State House members will explore impeachment proceedings even as many high-profile state Republicans, including Gov. Susana Martinez, are seemingly distancing themselves from Duran. New Mexico’s two largest newspapers also urged Duran to resign in editorials this week. As New Mexico Political Report previously reported, if Duran resigns or is impeached by the state Legislature, Martinez will have to appoint someone to fill the role.

Bill to legalize marijuana is tabled in first committee

A bill that allow the legalization of marijuana for recreational purposes was quashed in a House committee Friday morning. All but one member of a House Committee voted to table the Cannabis Revenue and Freedom Act. Rep. Bill McCamley, D-Mesilla Park, presented his HB 160 to the House Agriculture, Water and Wildlife Committee. McCamley, who is also a committee member, was the only one from the group to cast a dissenting vote for tabling the bill. Under the proposed legislation, both marijuana and industrial hemp would be regulated and taxed by the state.

Bill sponsor’s outlook grim for an independent Public Education Commission

A bill that would allow the New Mexico Public Education Commission to become an independent entity was stalled on a 6-6 vote Thursday morning. The bill would separate the commission from the state’s Public Education Department. According to the sponsor of HB 74, Rep. Christine Trujillo, D-Albuquerque, the bill would give the commission more power to hire staff and make decisions on approving state chartered schools. The 6-6 vote officially puts the bill into limbo, but it is likely dead for the year. Currently, the PEC provides an advisory role to the Education Secretary Designate Hanna Skandera.

Third-grade retention bill clears committee

A high profile bill to hold back third grade students who cannot read at grade level passed the House Education Committee on a party-line vote Tuesday morning. The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Monica Youngblood, R-Albuquerque, presented HB 41 along with her expert witness, Education Secretary-Designate Hanna Skandera. The proposed legislation would require school officials to closely monitor a student’s reading proficiency and retain them if it is not up to grade level by the third grade. Opponents of the bill addressed the committee with their concerns. A common sentiment among those who opposed the bill was that the focus needs to be on intervention and that retention is not the answer.

Right-to-work clears first hurdle after marathon committee meeting

House Committee members were part of a marathon committee meeting on Thursday that ultimately ended with an 8-5 vote  to pass a right-to-work bill. Rep. Dennis Roch, R-Logan, presented his HB 75 to the House Business and Employment Committee in a hearing that lasted nearly five hours. The bill would bar employers from requiring union membership from employees as a term of employment. Along with Roch were  Lt. Gov. John Sanchez and his expert witness Paul Gessing, the director of the free-market think tank, the Rio Grande Foundation. Sanchez told the committee he was there on behalf of Gov. Susana Martinez and insisted that right-to-work legislation is not an attempt to disband unions, but instead to help New Mexico workers.